Each time you bring a load of firewood inside this winter, you could be opening the door for wood-infesting insects to make your home their home. Most insects brought into the home on firewood are harmless, and you can greatly reduce their numbers by following a few simple steps from the entomology department at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
- When stacking wood outside, avoid stacking it directly on the ground. This will keep it from getting too wet and reduce the chances of infestation by such insects as termites and ants. (Individual termites and ants brought into the house will not start an infestation. However, a colony may exist in an old wood pile outdoors.)
- Don’t stack firewood in or against the house or other buildings for long periods of time. Termite or carpenter ant problems can develop and cause more serious problems later.
- Older wood is most likely to be infested, so use it first. Avoid stacking new wood on top of old wood.
- Cover firewood during the summer and fall to keep it drier and to stop some insects from seeking it out as winter shelter.
- To dislodge insects before bringing firewood indoors, shake, jar or knock logs together sharply. Brush off any obvious webbing or cocoons.
- Bring in small amounts of firewood that can be used in a day or so. Keep it stacked in a cool area, such as a garage or on a porch, until it is to be used. When wood warms up, the creatures in or on it will become active.
- Do not treat firewood with insecticides. Not only is it unnecessary, it could be dangerous. When insecticide burns, it can produce noxious fumes.
For more information about pest control, contact your County Cooperative Extension Service
Submitted by Lee Townsend, Extension Entomology Specialist, University of Kentucky, Department of Entomology